A new study suggests that this type of social behavior would be associated with greater creativity.

Is the secret of creativity to be a bit sullen? New research published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences has examinedthree different types of socially elusive behavior and found that one of them is associated with a higher level of creativity: being unsociable.


When people choose to be alone, they usually do so for one of three reasons: they are shy, they dislike interacting with others, or they like to spend time alone. Are these three categories related to negative psychological outcomes? This was the starting point of the study.


Many of us tend to think of loneliness as undesirable, and some studies confirm that too much loneliness is detrimental to our health. But the new study, led by Julie Bowker, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo in New York (USA) has found positive associations in a specific form of social isolation.


Being alone can give us a creativity boost, study finds


Not all loneliness is bad, “motivation matters”.

“During childhood and adolescenceThe idea is that if you’re distancing yourself too much from your peers, you’re missing out on positive interactions such as receiving social support, developing social skills, and other benefits of interacting with your peers,” Bowker explains. “This may be why so much emphasis has been placed on the negative effects of avoid isolation of colleagues”.


However,“we have to understand why someone is pulling away or isolating, to understand the associated risks and benefits. Motivation matters,” says Bowker.


In their study, the experts asked 295 participants to complete a series of questionnaires about their motivation for wanting to be alone, and their creativity, sensitivity to anxiety, predisposition to depression and social anhedonia, that is, lack of pleasure or enjoyment in social activities.



How BIS/BAS and psycho-behavioral variables distinguish between social withdrawal subtypes during emerging adulthood. Julie Bowker et al.

Personality and Individual Differences 2017 DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.07.043